Saturday, February 25, 2012

Eccentric street name of the week

Seen on the way to the Daily Planet building...

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Moose hysteria: Lenny, the Life-size Chocolate Moose of Scarborough, Maine

Two animals, the moose and the lobster, are beloved symbols of the great state of Maine. You can't drive down the highway very long without seeing a cheery "moose crossing" sign or "lobster on board" bumper sticker. Since 1997, one of the best and quirkiest tributes to the Maine moose has been grazing at the Len Libby candy store of Scarborough: a life-size moose made of milk chocolate. We love a good, groan-worthy pun and this 1,700-pound, 8-foot tall, 9-foot long one definitely passes the lit-moose test. You'll find decadent hand-crafted chocolate confections, ice cream and Maine souvenirs at Len Libby's, and they've got chocolate lobsters to keep the Libby lobster lobby happy. Lenny has company now, in the form of Libby, a 380-pound dark chocolate bear, and her dark chocolate cubs Cocoa and Chip, each weighing in at a svelte 80 pounds. Climate control is critical here, as Lenny and his pals require a temperature no higher than 70 degrees or else we've got a chocolate fondue the likes of which no man has ever seen. Not to visit this moosterpiece of eccentric roadsideabilia would be blasphemoose, and we are unanimoose in this decision.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A rosebud by any other name: Hearst Castle of San Simeon, California

William Randolph Hearst

They've got some great souvenirs in the gift shop.

Hearst had a dachschund named Helen...

...and was rather fond of chaps.

Lots of naked lady statues in the gift shop, too...

Citizen Kane's version

I love this shot.


In 1865, a wealthy miner purchased 40,000 acres of mid-California coastal ranch land. Fifty-four years later, his son inherited the land (which had grown to 250,000 acres) and decided to build "a little something" on it. The son was William Randolph Hearst, one of the world's most powerful publishing magnates, and he hired renown architect Julia Morgan to come up with ideas. They collaborated for the next thirty years and built a spectacular 165-room palace with 127 acres of gardens, pools and terraces overlooking the Pacific Ocean from high on a mountain. The site was so remote that seven miles of roads had to be built up the steep mountain and water sources mined, all before construction could begin. Orson Welles borrowed heavily from Hearst's life when he made his groundbreaking 1941 film "Citizen Kane" and modeled the fictional Xanadu after Hearst's elaborate estate. Hearst was so distraught over how his mistress Marion Davies' character was depicted in the film that he tried to have the film destroyed. Luckily for film-lovers, he was unsuccessful and "Citizen Kane" is considered by many as the best movie ever made. Hearst Castle is quite a show unto itself, with eye-popping architecture and views everywhere. Hearst used the place to entertain the rich and famous of his day, including Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford and Cary Grant. Our tour guide, the fabulous Bob, told a story of how Grant was given a tour of the place in the 1970s to revisit his lively past there. I get the feeling the tour was private,'s hard to picture Cary schlepping with his camera on the bus along with all the other tourists. The Hearst family recently worked out a deal with the state of California so the land will continue to be used for ranching and the castle will remain, giving it the same ambiance it had when Hearst was there in his hey-day. Good on you, Hearsts. And apparently, they're not quite so touchy about the whole Orson Welles thing any more -- they're having a special screening of "Citizen Kane" on March 9th with guest of honor Harrison Ford. And a note to the maintenance crew: if you find an old sled when you're cleaning out the basement, put it aside. It might be worth something.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Happy Birthday, Ann-nonymous!

We're taking a slight detour off the Eccentric highway to wish a dear friend from long ago a happy birthday. Friends are the family you choose for yourself.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

On a roll: Scenes from Sandwich, Massachusetts

"We've got the place surrounded. Put the mustard down and come out with your hands up."

"Haz Mat Engine One: We need the Jaws of Life on an Over-Grilled Cheese, Code Three"

That would be where the meat is, no?

There used to be a place called Sandwich's Sandwiches, but alas, they were out of business, so we got a nice ham on rye at the Sandwich Deli instead.

A Mashpee Sandwich...yummy.

I'll have the Fillet-O-Microfiche, please

Well, which is it?

Is there where I go to renew my hot dog license?

A nice place for not a lot of bread.

Cape Cod sticks out like an arm flexing its muscle off the Atlantic coast of Massachusetts and it has long been known for its quaint, seaside Colonial-era communities. They don't come any quainter than Sandwich, the Cape's oldest settled town, dating back to 1637. Named after the seaport of Sandwich, Kent, England, it's a gorgeous little spot and also a punster's paradise, so here goes:

You mayo may not want to visit this lovely place, but why not join the club and toast the town that Ruben built. You'll be a hero and that's no balogna. I pita the fool that thinks this place is sub-standard. There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask rye... I dream of things that never were, and ask rye not?

That's a wrap.